Relationship expert and life coach Paula Quinsee says the basic pillars of a good marriage are trust, communication, respect, resolving conflict and creating memories.

In terms of trust, Quinsee advices trusting your relationship and partner, and the fact that they’ll always be there for you, do right by you and themselves – and vice versa.

“Trust forms the underlying foundation of any relationship. You need to trust that your partner will make the relationship a priority, that he or she will protect it and keep it safe in terms of boundaries and knowing where you stand with each other,” she says.

The second building block is honesty and communication, says Quinsee. “You need to be honest with yourself in terms of what you’re thinking, feeling, needing and what’s working and not working, and being honest with your partner – because you can’t expect your partner to be honest with you if you aren’t honest.”

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Familiarity breeds contempt in some marriages, but the factor that swings the pendulum either to intimacy or contempt is respect, says author and life coach Thandi Vellem. “Respect your spouse as a human being above the fact that they are your romantic partner,” she said in a previous article in DESTINY.

Disrespectful and harsh words chip away at a marriage, says Quinsee. She believes that a successful union largely involves respecting each other as individuals and the fact that you have different opinions. It’s about how you respect the relationship in terms of the way you speak and treat each other as well as manage differences.

“A lot of couples see differences as the relationship not working. She advices that spouses look at what is working, what you have in common and how you can build on that and the relationship.

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Quinsee adds that conflict resolution is also the cornerstone of a strong union, adding that if you constantly sweep issues under the carpet or don’t fully resolve them in a way that satisfies both parties, one will always bring up the same issue and frustration. This in turn will hinder the relationship from going forward because one spouse is stuck in the past. “You need to be able to resolve conflict in a way where both parties are feeling heard and valued,” she says.

Quinsee says that having quality time together is crucial to a happy, healthy relationship. A couple that plays together, stays together, she says. “It’s about making time for each other, trying things and participating in things together, as well as connecting on a deeper level. That creates experiences, which in turn create moments and that creates memories.”